Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hadley Arkes on Premises [SK]

Regarding the recent SCOTUS decision on PBA, I've argued elsewhere that we must distinguish between the rhetoric of justices and the actual premises they put in place with their rulings, premises that may help us with future court cases. (Hadley Arkes and Ed Whelan say more about that here and here.) I've also rejected the claim made by some pro-lifers that a law must immediately save lives in order to be effective in helping us reach our goals. Practically speaking, The Emancipation Proclomation didn't free one slave south or north of the Mason Dixon line, but it redefined the Civil War and pushed the brutality of slavery to the forefront. I think the same can be said about PBA, and that's progress by any measure.

Well, Jivin J alerts me to this latest piece by Hadley Arkes, again on the fallout from the PBA SCOTUS decision. It seems abortion-choicers are turning to legislation to save them from the impact of the Carhart decision. However, in doing so they affirm an important pro-life premise: States should have a say in abortion policy:

With this panicky recoil from the holding in Carhart, the liberals are now behind the push to have the states start legislating again on abortion. With each move, they affirm the premise that the legislatures may indeed legislate on this subject. Their aim, of course, is to vindicate the right to abortion, but they will find that, as they try to shape that right, they will also be marking, unavoidably, the limits of abortion. And those limits, they will discover, will be drawn in far less broadly than any "limits" that can be found in the law of abortion as it has been shaped by the federal courts....For the pro-lifers, the quibbling over trimesters touches no issue of principle, for the child does not undergo any change in species, or any morally relevant change, in the shift from the first trimester to a later one. Still, a deliberation in a legislature, even in New York or New Jersey, may find legislators trying to confine, or pretend to confine, abortions to the first trimester. But once that move is made, they would be open to the move to forbid abortion after the first evidence of a beating heart. In one recent survey, 62 percent of the respondents professed to be opposed to abortion after the evidence of a beating heart.
Read the whole thing here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated. We reject all comments containing obscenity. We reserve the right to reject any and all comments that are considered inappropriate or off-topic without explanation.